One man was killed when a powerful blast rocked the recently opened McDonald's fast food restaurant in the upmarket Park Street area in Kolkata on Sunday, and police blamed it on the air-conditioning system.
Three people were also seriously injured in the explosion around 9.30 am The injured were admitted to the SSKM Hospital, Police Commissioner Prasun Mukherjee said.
Ruling out any sabotage, Mukherjee told reporters that the blast was due to a snag in the air conditioning system. The dead man was identified as Aftab Hussain.
"We don't think the blast took place in the kitchen due to gas cylinders as was thought initially. It occurred in the air conditioning system," he said.
The explosion was so powerful that windscreens of two cars parked outside the outlet were smashed while the tin shutter of the restaurant was blown off and fell across the street in front of the cake and coffee shop Flury's and Music World store.
"The explosion was deafening. I saw a person lying in blood when the smoke from the explosion cleared," said Hiten, an employee of a TV channel who had parked his car nearby to take his family to Flury's for breakfast.
Traffic was hit on the street, which has some of the city's favourite food joints, bars, music stores and discotheques on both sides besides The Park hotel. McDonald's was located at a road junction.
McDonald's opened the Park Street outlet, its first in communist West Bengal, on March 9 with a promise to set up three more in the city.
The restaurant has a capacity to serve 150 customers at a time.